March 26, 2014, - 10:07 am
Yet another great law enforcement leader is leaving Homeland Security because, under Barack Obama, there’s not much to be done, especially in immigration, where Obama is hamstringing law enforcement agents’ efforts. Yesterday, James Dinkins, the Director of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced he’ll be retiring in April.
As longtime readers know, I know and am friendly with Jim. I knew this was coming for a while now, but I couldn’t say anything until he made his official announcement. But I was sad to hear it. It’s yet another instance of a good person at the Department of Homeland Security–where ICE is the largest agency–leaving under the Barack Obama administration. Jim would have made a great ICE chief, would have had the job, and could have remained at the agency almost another ten years (the mandatory retirement age for federal agents is 56, which has been increased to 57 for those who were born in 1970 or later). He is only 47, which is young for retirement even from the government, but who would want to stay at the frustrating, demoralized, bureaucratic Homeland Security under Obama, when the private sector awaits, and more things can actually be achieved there?
Jim, who is an expert at money laundering methods and how to stop it, was a career U.S. Customs Service Office of Investigation agent working investigations to stop Islamic terrorists and drug dealers from laundering money, and he was involved in many such investigations in Detroit. But, then, under the Bush-Joe Lieberman government reorganization and creation of the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11, a lot of the very successful, very effective terrorism money-laundering investigations that Customs agents performed under “Operation Greenquest” were shut down, and all authority to investigate terrorism was handed over to the FBI, where it languished and not much was done. I met Jim either just before or right after 9/11, when his then-boss, then-Customs Special Agent in Charge Gary Waugh, who I’d met at the DC airport on the way back to Detroit, introduced us. I and my late father had given the Detroit Customs office some good tips on various parties we thought were money laundering on behalf of Islamic terrorists. Gary said Jim and another agent, Bruno Genrich, were his best guys on this stuff and that they were great guys–that I needed to meet them. I learned a lot from all three of them and their very effective operations in stopping Islamic terrorists in Dearbornistan and beyond. It was exhilarating to watch because it was obvious they were dedicated to their work in helping keep America safe and terrorists on the defensive.
Since Jim was responsible for years for working with outside businesses and helping them identify and stop money laundering, I hope he’ll use those skills to help companies stop this stuff once he’s in the private sector. He’s very effective on this and knows his stuff. I saw how he and agents working under his leadership in Detroit stopped several Muslim-operated dollar and mail box stores who were laundering multi-millions of dollars to the Middle East and apparently to Islamic terrorists. And he is very knowledgeable on the operation of hawalas–Islamic money-transfer (and usually money-laundering) networks–through these businesses. The Justice Department–beginning under President Bush–stopped prosecuting these almost entirely, even though they are tremendous sources of financing for terrorist operations. Jim worked on cases involving these networks, which financed Al-Qaeda and HAMAS, as well as other Islamic terrorist groups. He has a wealth of experience in these areas, and it’s a shame the U.S. government basically dumped this stuff after 9/11 and the creation of DHS. Hopefully, he can put his skills in this and other areas to use as a private citizen.
Jim is a leader and a good guy, and he is almost universally well-liked and respected. He’s a mensch extraordinaire. And it’s sad that federal law enforcement–especially the Department of Homeland Security, which so desperately needs good people and good leadership–is losing someone like this so young, yet so experienced. Jim has literally been involved in law enforcement for decades, beginning as a college intern with the U.S. Customs Service Office of Investigations in 1986. He has accomplished a lot and achieved virtually everything he could do at ICE, except lead the agency. But who would want that headache under Obama?
And this is exactly the problem with the Obama Administation and Homeland Security. Almost every good agent I know is leaving at the earliest opportunity. That’s because of the the frustration and lack of support and direction. As Barack Obama adds layers and layers of difficulty to arrests and deportations of illegal aliens, there isn’t much to do or that can be done to enforce immigration laws. And immigrants are laughing at us. Jim did as much as he could under these constraints.
Islamic terrorists and other malefactors in America are safer without people like Jim Dinkins at the top of federal law enforcement. I wish him the best of luck and success out there. Sadly, the agency will be missing a very good and integrally important guy. But, again, that’s par for the course under Obama. All the good guys are leaving.
Here is Dinkins’ letter announcing his retirement to top ICE leadership and colleagues:
From: Dinkins, James A
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:34 PM Eastern Standard Time
To: Allen, Matthew C; Arnold, Claude P; Bench, Bradford A; Benner, Derek N; Erichs, Alysa; Foucart, Bruce; Hartwig, Gary J; Hayes, James; Janice Ayala (firstname.lastname@example.org); Kelleghan, John P; Kumar Kibble (Kumar.C.Kibble@ice.dhs.gov); Marwell, David M; McCormick, Susan L; McLees, Andrew; Melendez, Angel M; Miller, Marlon V; Moskowitz, Brian; Netherland, John M; Nicholson, Brock; Parmer, Raymond R; Rittenberg, Scot R; Settles, Clark E; Spero, James; Ulrich, Dennis; Wills, Wayne K; Winter, William L
Cc: Jackson, Brandie M; Connolly, John G (ICE-HSI); Kubiak, Lev J; LEIGH H Winchell (email@example.com); Lembke, Traci A; Reeder, Frank N; Staci Barrera (Staci.Barrera@dhs.gov); Susan McCormick – USICE (Susan.L.McCormick@ice.dhs.gov); Woods, John P
Subject: Thank You!
SACs [DS: Special Agents in Charge],
I want to let you know that I will be retiring at the end of April. I have been blessed to serve with you and know that HSI will continue to do great things. You are one of the best senior management teams ever to have graced a law enforcement agency, and I can’t wait to see where you will lead HSI in years to come.
While it is difficult to leave all of you when so many great things are happening, it gives me comfort to do so knowing that under your leadership, combined with the support of Deputy Director Ragsdale, Acting Director Winkowski, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas and Secretary Johnson, you’re going to continue to do great things!
While I still have a few weeks and a full schedule, upon my departure please continue to provide Pete the overwhelming support you have in the past. While you’re welcome to share this news with your staff, I plan on sending an email to all of HSI in the days ahead. I know transitions can be challenging, but I doubt HSI will miss a beat. Keep up the great work as the world is increasingly recognizing our efforts and in awe of your accomplishments!
God bless, be safe, and keep in touch.
James A. Dinkins
Executive Associate Director
Homeland Security Investigations
Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Department of Homeland Security
500 12th Street SW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20536
One other thing: Jim and everyone else in Homeland Security–including Secretary Jeh Johnson–reads this site, especially when I write about what’s going on at the agency and at ICE. Jim was the only one they authorized to speak with me on the record (everyone else talks to me off the record). Jim would constantly get requests from top ICE officials to contact me to “clarify” this or that, and he never abused his friendship with me by doing that. But he always responded to me and answered my questions, defending his agents and their work at every opportunity. . . even when I mocked him on this site. The guy is a true professional, a gentleman, and a class act. Any private company will be lucky to have him.
Congrats and Good Luck, Jim!
Tags: ICE, Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, James Dinkins, Jim Dinkins